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Dodgers Off-Season: The Case For Signing Anthony Rendon

He fits the needs of this team like a glove.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals throws out George Springer (not pictured) of the Houston Astros during the third inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon is probably the most perfect fit for the Dodgers to hit free agency in quite a long time. Over and over again the LA offense has come up short in the postseason. The current offense is too left-handed and the defense at third base is slipping. Rendon would immediately change the dynamic on both the offense and defense.

This free agency class that features other players at the top of their game include Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg is excellent and the Dodgers have an opportunity to make a splash. All would fulfill a need and make the Dodgers better. This article will make the case for the Dodgers to sign Anthony Rendon.

Offensive Value

We saw what Anthony Rendon can do in the postseason in 2019. He didn’t shrink from the big moments and put together many excellent at bats in contrast to many of the Dodgers. In 138 postseason plate appearances, Rendon has a career slash of .282/.370/.479 (AVG/OBP/SLG).

Let’s take a look at his regular season numbers over the last few years:

Year PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBI
2014 683 .287 .351 .473 21 83
2015 355 .264 .344 .363 5 25
2016 647 .270 .348 .450 20 85
2017 605 .301 .403 .533 25 100
2018 597 .308 .374 .535 24 92
2019 646 .319 .412 .598 34 126

Even if we take into account the juiced ball, Rendon is a consistent hitter who would be perfect in either the 2nd or 3rd spot in the batting order. He is durable and should have at least 5 more strong seasons.

Defensive Value

I wrote about how the LA infield defense was barely average last season and that the biggest weak spot was third base. Rendon has a history of being a pretty good fielder and he would be an excellent upgrade. From 2014 through 2018 Rendon was the highest rated defensive third baseman according to FanGraphs. He did take a step down in 2019 but was still in the top 10 and he was better than anyone else the Dodgers had at third.

Lineup Impact

If Rendon was to be signed then it would greatly impact the infield. Assuming Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Gavin Lux all come back one of them is left out. One option was discussed recent at Dodgers Nation that involved trying Gavin Lux in the outfield. Personally, I would look to move Max Muncy to left field which frees up Turner for 1B and Lux at 2B. If they move Muncy to left then it would allow them to trade Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock (which would also free up some more money). How about this lineup:

  1. Alex Verdugo – RF
  2. Max Muncy – LF
  3. Anthony Rendon – 3B
  4. Cody Bellinger – CF
  5. Justin Turner – 1B
  6. Corey Seager – SS
  7. Will Smith – C
  8. Gavin Lux – 2B

There aren’t any platoons needed with these players. The lineup is an excellent mix of youth and experience with the top 5 batters having good approaches at the plate. The opposing starting pitchers would end up throwing a lot of pitches to those guys.

The Cost

If the Dodgers try and pull the same thing they did with Bryce Harper they will lose out on him. I truly doubt Rendon goes for a short term, big yearly average contract (and ESPN’s Jeff Passan agrees). The famous quote about what he wants to be doing when he is 36 notwithstanding.

“Hopefully, not playing baseball,” Rendon joked. “Probably sitting on the couch hanging out with my kids. – The Athletic

His agent is Scott Boras and this is his chance to cash in on all of his hard work. Last off-season the Rockies signed Nolan Arenado to an 8 year / $260M contract as he headed into his age 28 season. Anthony Rendon is 29 (he turns 30 in July) and my guess is he beats the annual average value (AAV) of Arenado’s contract of $32.5M. My guess is a an AAV of $35M at 7 years for a total of $245M.

Final Thoughts

The Dodgers have a projection of having around $40M available before luxury tax penalties would impact them. They clearly can afford an AAV of Anthony Rendon without shedding any further payroll. If they were to add Rendon then they would be able to move someone else from the starting lineup and possibly trade them. There is no rational reason the Dodgers can’t spend big this winter whether it is Rendon or Gerrit Cole.

Since the front office seems to be so enamored with players like Cole and Rendon then maybe they finally do something big. They have the room and even more contracts expiring over the next few years including Turner, Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw. The case is easy for signing Rendon and Cole wouldn’t be bad either. The bottom line, the Dodgers can make a huge next step with either one of them.

If they sign Rendon, they will upgrade their defense, balance their lineup, have proven postseason player and upgrade the batting order. Let’s do it Dodgers.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

21 Comments

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  1. Andrew Friedman knows his time is running out before the wolves come at him. This organization cheapness is starting to come to light and with an annual attendance of 4 million fans a year, well it needs to be addressed. Fans need to wake up and demand Friedman and Kasten to make big moves and reward the fans that spend huge money at the stadium and spectrum cable every year. They must sigh Rendon and trade for Mookie Bett. It’s going to hurt a little. The trade package that should get a seal done for Betts, send Lux, Muncy, Stripling, Rios. And AJ Polluck for giving up Lux. .Remember Betts is a Top Five player in the league. And if they want to this bigger, send this package to Cleveland, Seager, and catching prospect Keiburt Ruiz and Kike Hernandez for Lindor. I’m sure the numbers would still be under the cap. As fore starting pitching they have enough to start the season, I would wait for the trade deadline and then add a piece to make a difference in the post season. With this offense they have enough pitching. Maybe add relief help. 2020 starting lineup. Lindor ss,Rendon 3b, Bellinger Rf, Betts cf, Turner 1b, Verdugo Lf, Taylor 2b, Smith c, wow what a lineup. Come on a person can dream can they. Happy Holidays.

    • Do you really have that big a man crush on Chris Taylor that you created all those trades in order to make him the starting 2nd basemen? In case you haven’t been following,. Taylor obviously dug himself into the dog house for the post season. I like Chris , but until he manages to cut down on the Ks , he will not be given a starting spot.

      • Well Taylor was the only second
        Baseman available on roster so put him that could be anybody if they get everything I mentioned.

        • Alfredo, as I told you on another page is forget about Betts. He’sonly a 1 year rental. why should Dodgers again trade a lot for 1 year of service because HE WILL be a FA after the 2020 season. And he will end up elsewhere while Dodgers end up with what, a draft pick compensation?

    • Sure it would be great to have Rendon, Betts and Lindor. But, the Redsox plan to have their#2 prospect Dalbec take over 1B next year. They would probably want OF help and young pitching in the deal. They do have a hole at 2B. Maybe Pederson, Stripling, Taylor and Gonsolin. Cleveland doesn’t need a C. Their guy Perez is best defensive C in baseball and he hit 24 homers last year. We would have Lindor for two years and again the Indians would need a SS and OF help so Seager, Rios and Peters and Santana might work. My opinion., but we shouldn’t hold our breath 9n any of it.

  2. Again we will not Win it All in 2020 If we don’t sign starting pitcher Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg period we have enough pitchers to pick from for the bullpen including Kenta Maeda. Defense: If we could get Anthony Rendon for the hot corner and trade Corey Seager and Joc Pederson for Francisco Lindor to play shortstop Galvin Lux at second base Justin Turner and Max Muncy alternate first base Cody Bellinger at right field AJ Pollock and Alex Verdugo alternate at center field Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez utility player backup at infield and outfield field Matt Beaty backup outfielder. Will Smith the catcher Austin Barnes and Keibert Ruiz backup catchers.

    • if you watched any of this year’s WS you might have noticed that both the Nats and Astros played with a SET INF. They did not do a bunch of shuffling except with Howie being a DH in the AL park so the better defensive 2nd baseman (Cabrera) could play at 2nd.

  3. Friedman and Kasten don’t have the balls to deal and set up a team like this. Remember going into 1988, Fred Claire shook up the house and traded Bob Welch and Matt Young to the Oakland A’s and Jack Savage to the New York Mets. Received Alfredo Griffin and Jay Howell from the Oakland A’s and Jesse Orosco from the Mets. Oh by the way, he signed a free agent named Kirk Gibson…MVP. Time to pull the trigger and clean house.

  4. Agree with Al except for Taylor and the need for pitching. However good the front of the lineup is, Taylor would SO leaving a runner on third with less than 2 outs. Would put him in the trade section along with Seager, Pollack and Pederson and keep Lux. Cole would be a perfect fit moving Kers to 3rd or 4th starter with Will Smith back as a reliever.

  5. I would Trade Pollock Beatty Barnes & Tayor and keep Joc–Joc would still get 400 ABs with that lineup and be much better–The bench could be –Joc-Martin Kike & Rios—great lineup and still maybe get Gerritt Cole

  6. Tim, your lineup is OK but Bellinger should play RF and RF ONLY next year with Verdugo in CF. And then Dumb Roberts needs to stop shuffling Bellinger and others around from pillar to post everyday, because I truly believe Bellinger’s 2nd half performance at the plate was affected by the constant shuffling from position to position in almost every game.

    • I’m with you Paul. I was just assuming the team will go with Belli in CF and Dugie in RF. It would be nice to have some consistency in the lineup. Some players can handle it and some can’t.

  7. Friedman can not change who is and why he was brought here. He will stay true to his discipline of analysis and ‘correct’ value. I expect very little change, unless Cleveland trades Lindor for Seager & Verdugo. (Verdugo is under team control and fills a big need for the ‘Native Americans’)

    • Paul I agree they are not going to sign Cole, Wheeler or Strasberg. We probably disagree in that looking at the stats, to me they show the Dodgers do not need them. Especially with Urias off of inning restriction in 2020. I do believe they will aggressively attempt to sign Ryu. The buzz I heard end of the year the Dodgers were very impressed with May and Gonsolin.
      Seager was coming back from major surgery it appeared he never found his stroke. I would not trade him.

  8. Not one prospect Friedman kept delivered in the post season. Turner and Muncy were the only bats that have showed up. Even Kersh has had trouble in the post season. So the idea that youth wins championships hasn’t served the Dodgers well. Rendon would be instrumental as he has shown that the big stage doesn’t bother him. Cole the same, I would say clean house and pull a couple trades in the process. The Dodgers are pretenders, not contenders each year. If they bring in proven players, I may go spend 5 ben franklin’s at Dodger stadium a few times again. But I’m done paying for the same failures year after year. And yes, if you don’t win the championship, you failed. If not, then why do we keep score?

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